Heat exchanger technology--the cooling machinery that ferries internal heat away from your PC, your computer, your air conditioner, and other appliances--hasn't changed too terribly much for decades. That's led to some limiting problems: For instance, more powerful computer chips can't be run at their full potential because they might overheat.
Rare earth elements have been the focus of a good deal of ink, a lot of anxiety, and a couple of tense international spats over the past year, but a Japanese discovery may make the valuable minerals a lot less rare. Geologists there say they’ve found huge concentrated deposits of rare earths in the Pacific seabed that could total 100 billion tons--or enough in a single square mile of seafloor to cover nearly half the world’s annual demand.
Coal-derived emissions pouring from smokestacks across Asia are--perhaps counterintuitively--responsible for a pause in global warming in the decade following 1998, but that's no real reason to celebrate. The halt in rising temperatures is a result of the large amounts of sulfur in those emissions, which can have a cooling effect on the planet.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have turned an acoustic phenomenon familiar to those who have visited the Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building or St. Paul’s Cathedral in London into a high-resolution nanoparticle detector. Using a ring-shaped micro-laser, the sensor can detect and count individual viruses or synthetic and biological nanoparticles with single particle resolution.
The wildfires burning in across the Southwest have threatened homes, economies, and communities, but today the Las Conchas fire in New Mexico is taking the threat to a new level. Having already ravaged about 60,000 acres, the wildfire is knocking on the door of Los Alamos National Labs, the birthplace of the atomic bomb and a key nuclear weapons research site.
Just three years after breaking ground, China will open the crown jewel of its high-speed rail network to the public this week. The 186 mile per hour (and that's regular operating speed) Beijing-Shanghai link takes just four hours and 48 minutes to traverse 820 miles of Chinese countryside.
Scientists hoping to save the Tasmanian devil from the strange and contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) have turned to genomics to help them save species before the disease wipes it out completely. Researchers have conducted whole-genome analyses of two Tasmanian devils to develop a model by which to select healthy specimens to be kept in captivity so that the species might carry on.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, unicellular organisms made the leap to multicellularity, enabling what we know now as complex life and otherwise making a huge leap forward for evolution. Now, researchers have coaxed single-celled yeast into doing the same thing--in just a few weeks.
If you want to see what Earth looks like from space, become an astronaut (or, barring that, a space tourist). For the next best view, pay a visit to Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation where a massive, nearly 20-foot spherical OLED orb--the world’s first large scale spherical OLED--offers a satellite’s-eye view of the planet in super high resolution.
At Japan's Environment Ministry offices, the employees conform to a new energy-saving dress code known as Super Cool Biz (what, you have a better name?). Super Cool Biz (which I will refer to by its full name as often as possible, for obvious reasons) is an effort to tamp down Japan's skyrocketing energy consumption, largely through cutting out excess air conditioning--and the hotter offices required a change in the traditional Japanese dress code, from full suits to eye-catching and naturally cooling Hawaiian shirts.